A DEVON filmmaker and expedition leader is embarking upon his most ambitious project – attempting to capture the complete soundtrack of every species of Scottish seabird.

Roland Arnison is based on Dartmoor, but has worked around the world, including leading British Exploring Society and Biosphere Expeditions trips to some of the world’s most remote locations and landscapes.

Now, the 53-year-old, is swapping the south west of England for the west coast of Scotland for a three month sea kayaking voyage to attempt to discover and record all 25 species of Scottish seabirds, while also carrying out practical research for the British Trust for Ornithology.

This is very much a personal quest but with an important environmental goal,’ he said. ‘There has been a shocking decline in most of Scotland’s seabird populations over the last 20 years, and they need all the support we can give.

This project will not only feed into vital work to monitor and record populations of Scottish seabirds, but I hope will draw attention to their plight, and remind us of their sheer beauty and essential place they hold in an increasingly fragile environment.’

The Call of the Loon expedition will involve around hundreds of miles of paddling on open water, including the rarely completed 40-mile crossing from North Uist to St Kilda, and wild camping on remote islands. Starting at Oban in April 2024, Roland’s route will take him to seabird colonies throughout the Western Isles with Roland aiming to have completed his work by August.

Puffins, terns, gulls and shearwaters are amongst around 25 species of seabird that Roland hopes to encounter on the project. Adhering to industry standards of minimal impact filming and recording, Roland aims to build a comprehensive picture of the seabirds that make the West coast of Scotland their spring and summer home, as part of a radio documentary and film.

Roland, who lives near Moretonhampstead, first bought a Romany Explorer kayak from the legendary Nigel Dennis at Sea Kayaking UK more than twenty years ago. Aside from expeditions around the globe, he has been exploring Britain’s coasts by kayak ever since, including circumnavigating Mull and crossing the Minch.